Trump’s Ban On Transgenders In Military In Exchange For Border Wall Funding?

Image: CNN

According to the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) National Political Director, Faiz Shakir, Donald Trump’s recent proposed ban on transgender people serving in the military was to secure funding for his US/Mexico border wall.

Mr Shakir writes:

“Despite Trump’s false claim that his pronouncement was the result of consultation with “my Generals” and concerns over spending, it has become obvious that sound policy had nothing to do with his reckless decision.

A new report from Politico reveals that Trump decided to ban transgender service members as a way to secure funding for his proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Several House members planned to vote against the “minibus” spending bill, which determines the Pentagon’s spending and also includes $1.6 billion for Trump’s border wall, if it did not include an amendment to prohibit funding for transgender health care in the military. In an effort to appease his right flank, Trump — obsessed with the construction of a border wall — decided to not just target transgender health care but rather to issue a broad ban against all transgender people from serving in our Armed Forces”.

On the 27th, House Republicans approved the $1.6 billion for the wall, which was then to be sent to the Senate, where Democrats said they would block it.

According to CNN, Trump had not consulted his Joint Chiefs of Staff either:

“One of the heads of the military branches was informed by a staffer of the President’s tweets on transgender policy and had no idea it was coming, an official said”.

An official also stated that another issue is whether currently serving transgender staff will be discharged, and if so, whether this will be with an ‘honorable discharge’ so that they may claim medical and retiree benefits afterwards based on their years of service.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday last, Democrat Steny Hoyer stated that the fact that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were not informed before Trump’s announcement showed that the decision was to appeal to some House members who wanted healthcare funding to transgender people in the military stopped, “and offered an amendment to discriminate against those transgender members of the armed forces”.

Business Insider UK also states that while Trump has said that transgender health funding was “too burdensome”, five times more is spent by the US military on viagra – $84 million on erectile dysfunction medications as opposed to $8.4 million on transgender health care, according to a Rand Corporation 2016 study. GQ has also stated that four of Trump’s trips to Mar-A-Lago would cost the same as the transgender healthcare bill.

Shakir of ACLU says on the funding issue:

“Trump didn’t only mislead the public when he said that the ban was the result of close consultation with military leaders, but he also pushed the false claim that spending on health services for transgender troops was too burdensome.

While Trump cited the “tremendous medical costs” of transgender health care coverage in his tweet-storm, experts found that such expenses are minimal, and they are far less onerous than what the government spends on the president’s many trips to Mar-a-Lago or what the military spends on Viagra.”

It is estimated that there are approximately 6,000 transgender people serving in the US military at present, although the Williams Institute (UCLA School of Law) put it at 8,800 on active duty as at 2014, with an extra 6,700 serving as guards or in the reserve.


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